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Man who has abducted and raped a minor girl in 2007, the family of the 25-year-old accused Santosh Bhausaheb Pawar had immediately sprung into damage control mode.

In exchange for withdrawing the case, the victim was given the offer of marrying the same man who raped her. He had also offered to transfer three acres of land he owned in her name. However, the victim’s refusal to budge has landed Pawar in jail for seven years.

Principal District and Sessions Judge A I S Cheema found Pawar guilty of abducting and raping the 15-year-old girl and keeping her captive in a farm for three days after the act. Judge Cheema on Tuesday sentenced Pawar to seven years of rigorous imprisonment and directed him to pay a fine of Rs 25,000.

Both Pawar and the girl are residents of Bhambarde village of Shirur taluka and knew each other. On April 3, 2007 the victim and her friend had ventured into the village where they met Pawar. When they were returning home a few hours later, the victim’s uncle Dyaneshwar Mhaske had spotted the girls and offered to drop them home on his motorbike.

While her friend agreed, the victim refused her uncle’s offer. Meanwhile, Pawar also arrived at the spot on his motorbike and offered a lift to the victim and she agreed.

However, instead of dropping her home, Pawar took her to the Chaskaman canal and raped her in one of the cement pipes lying at the bank. He then forcibly took her to a nearby farm and confined her there, threatening to hurt her and her family members if she protested.

For three days the victim was held at the farm, with Pawar making frequent visits to the place before she found her way home on April 6. Her family had meanwhile lodged a missing person’s complaint and after her father Bhausaheb Shivram Mhaske learnt of the rape, filed a complaint of rape, abduction, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

“The accused had alleged that the girl had consented to the act, but as she was below 16 years of age, he is liable to be imprisoned after being found guilty,” according to the Additional Public Prosecutor Hira Bari.

“That the family of the accused made an offer of marriage and land reflects a guilty conscience and an attempt to tamper with evidence. This was accepted as a valid argument by the court,” added Bari who had examined eight witnesses during the trial.

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